Just like Indian mom makes
MOTHER of mine, but a Nush Restaurant breakfast does not disappoint. The style of the food is South African Indian and seems inspired by the sort of fare you would gorge on in Indian homes in my home province, Kwazulu-natal.
Think milk naan topped with curried mince, or sardines mashed with onion and green chillies. Imagine eggs served with mustard seed, braised baked beans, jeera-spiced potatoes and garlic mushrooms. It may sound too hot a start to the day for some, but a spicy breakfast hits my spot.
A colleague and I sat down to breakfast at the sadly empty-looking Nush this week on bustling Plein Street across the road from Parliament. Perhaps the emptiness can be ascribed to the restaurant being a new arrival – they opened earlier this month.
The decor is something of a compromise between a modern look and an Indian home, with polished wooden cabinets displaying silverware and a large picture of a woman in a sari. Square tables that seat four with matching woodback chairs fill the tiled space of the restaurant and there’s further seating at a street- facing bar counter.
I tucked into a scrambled egg breakfast served with a few sides and washed it down with something called a rose milk drink – that was me trying to be adventurous.
And in true SA Indian style, expect a portion only a KwazuluNatal mom would serve up to a prodigal son – excessive.
The food was neatly presented; I found a mound of egg on my plate, two long juicy sausages, a heap of garlic mushrooms that may have been a quarter of a punnet, braised jeera potatoes that were very yellow in colour, and the cherry of the dish – a thick, tasty tomato chutney, similar to what locals would call smoor.
This chutney proved to be a good condiment, mixing excellently with the yellowy potatoes, egg and sausage.
The toast was served hot, covered with a serviette. Cutlery was on the side in a napkin and the table had the usual salt, pepper and white sugar ( brown sugar and sweetener at the tables would have been good). Other sauces were offered by a smiling waitress, who checked on us at decent intervals.
My colleague had a large omelette filled with curried mince, peppers and cheese for R35. A small eater, he said: “It was good value for money; I couldn’t finish it.”
Perhaps he is not used to Indian mother-size portions.
Momp, a dry mixture of sweet spicy bits, was served after the meal to aid the digestion of the fiery food.
Nush’s chef, Nasen Moodley, said they were targeting customers who work at Parliament and the nearby Department of Justice.
“Our breakfast hours have been a little quiet. At lunch our roti rolls and curry on naan bread are popular, along with our fried fish and dhal,” Moodley said, while I mentally reminded myself to remain composed and not salivate in company.
For drinkers, there is a large whisky and brandy menu – a nice accompaniment to a lunch time spot. Some gin and vodkas would be great, though.
On the downside: there’s no smoking area or in-restaurant toilets.
This is a little gem of a breakfast venue where, despite the busy city street outside, sitting there bopping to sitar music I got to escape from the daily grind. Those empty tables deserve to get filled in the new year. Twitter: @Wendylmartin email@example.com
COME AND GET IT: Nush Restaurant on Plein Street serves Indian breakfasts.